If you’ve been following our Frankenstein Road King build for this year’s Baggers Build-Off, we featured some one-off moto-inspired handlebars that Anthony Keeling from Chassis Design Co. fabbed up for us last month. This month, we needed to get the clutch and brake controls dialed in, so we headed over to Galfer USA in Oxnard, California, and Barnett Clutches in Ventura, California, to get some new brake lines and a clutch cable made.
We stopped at Galfer first and checked out its Harley-Davidson brake-line kits (front $146.80, rear $64). Those are the stock prices. Because our application required custom lengths, the price went up $7 per line. There are 12 different brake-line colors to choose from and five different banjos/banjo bolts you can also choose, but the price can also vary a tad depending on color combos. We like that Galfer offers so many different options. Different strokes, right? We went with the black banjos on platinum stainless-steel hoses, which resist abrasion and puncture and also feature a Teflon core that won’t degrade over time like rubber hoses.
Next on the list was a new clutch cable. We headed to Barnett Clutches for one of its platinum braided cables (contact for price; varies by application), which feature a clear-coat protective finish, and you can choose chrome, polished, or black hardware. The clear-coat finish helps to protect painted surfaces and is guaranteed not to discolor from sun exposure. The Barnett clutch cables are available for all 1987–later Harley-Davidson models and come standard with Barnett’s high-efficiency inner wire for longer life, smoother cable action, and reduced lever effort. Barnett offers custom clutch cable applications too, which was perfect for our needs. Follow along as we visit Galfer USA and Barnett Clutches to get this build one step closer to completion.
Steps 1 and 2
Step 1: Our new front and rear brake lines and black hardware from Galfer USA.
Step 2: After rolling our project Road King into the R&D area of Galfer USA, Donnie Honeycutt, our tech for the day, checked out our setup and what he’d need to make the lines for our off-road bagger. The bars that came with the bike were left on for transport, but they would soon be ripped off to measure brake-line lengths for the new Chassis Design bars.
Steps 3 and 4
Step 3: We had the new handlebar in place, and Donnie was ready to take some measurements.
Step 4: Next, we bled the brakes in the front and the rear to remove any fluid from the factory lines. DOT 4 brake fluid is some messy stuff that will eat away paint very easily.
Steps 5 and 6
Step 5: Once the fluid was evacuated, we removed the factory front brake line from the master cylinder.
Step 6: Next, Donnie removed the factory brake line block, located under the bottom triple tree.
Steps 7 and 8
Step 7: Next, we installed Galfer’s new aluminum brake-line block, which connects the top brake line at the handlebar master cylinder down to the two lower brake lines that route to the dual calipers.
Step 8: Here, Donnie has threaded a dummy cable from the brake master cylinder at the handlebar and then routed it to the aluminum block to make hose length measurements. Next, Donnie used the dummy cable to measure from the brake line block down to the calipers and marked his measurements. The same procedures were applied to measuring brake-line lengths for the rear.
Steps 9 and 10
Step 9: Measure twice, cut once! Donnie checked his measurements and was ready to install the banjos and crimp them into place.
Step 10: Using a crimping machine, the banjos were mated to their hoses. One more step, and our new brake lines would be done!
Steps 11 and 12
Step 11: Using a heat gun, a piece of clear heat shrink is wrapped and heated after the banjo is installed to the line.
Step 12: Once all of the lines were made, it was time to install them. Donnie started with the handlebar master cylinder brake line using the black banjo and copper washers on each side.
Steps 13 and 14
Step 13: Then Donnie routed the new lines from the Galfer aluminum brake line block down to the calipers also using copper washers on each side of the banjos.
Step 14: Everything was now installed and torqued to spec (12–15 pound-feet at the aluminum block, 15–17 pound-feet at the master cylinder and calipers).
Steps 15 and 16
Step 15: Next up, DOT 4 brake fluid was added, and the brakes were then bled to remove any air bubbles.
Step 16: Voilà—there you have it. One new set of platinum stainless braided brake lines on our Road King. We then headed down the road to Barnett Clutches and shadowed one of the lead techs as he literally built this clutch cable in about five minutes.
Steps 17 and 18
Step 17: The Barnett tech took some measurements from the clutch perch on our Road King’s new bars to the transmission trap door and got to work. He cut the clutch cable casing to size and installed one of the clutch cable housings (transmission trap door end) with Permatex Gasket Maker.
Step 18: Then the housing was crimped into place, followed by the clutch safety spring.
Steps 19 and 20
Step 19: Next to go on was the cable adjuster housing, which was crimped, followed by the rubber boot assembly.
Step 20: Then the other clutch cable housing was installed (clutch perch end). Before the cables are routed through the casing, they’re pre-fit with clutch perch assemblies. This speeds up the process when feeding the cables through the hoses instead of being done one at a time.
Steps 20 and 21
Step 21: After the clutch cable itself was fed through the platinum stainless hose, it was fitted with a ferrule, which will ultimately be placed in the transmission ball and ramp assembly.
Step 22: After everything was checked, we brought the Road King and our new brake lines and clutch cable back to our shop and everything fit like a glove.